Friday 8 February 2019

A Decade on Twitter

A quarter of a century online
I review my life on social media that appears to go back 25 years when it was not a popular term. My first email address in 1994 and then a CompuServe subscription through which I participated in Usenet groups.
When I moved out to Ipswich in 1995, I found an Internet Service Provider (ISP) who I discovered unilaterally blocked adult websites. I paid him a visit and demanded that as an adult, my access to the Internet should be untrammelled, including the ability to view adult sites, as I am an adult and I do not intend to be policed if I am doing nothing illegal.
I guess he was embarrassed for the fact that I was unabashed, my request was granted that evening and he must have glad I did not have to visit him about anything again.
Throwing off and throwing down
Soon, we were on Internet Relay Chat (IRC), I think that was 1997, opening channels for all sorts of interests until people found ways to exploit vulnerabilities in the TCP/IP stack and knock you offline with DoS/DDoS attacks or those that broke IRC connections, called nuking. We had to implement countermeasures to prevent nukes and the takeovers of IRC channels.
As the popularity of IRC began to wane in the early 2000s, I was in a Berlin hotel when decided to start blogging in December 2003. I hope to have written my 3,000th blog sometime this year. It was not for another few years before I joined another social media platform. In my early blogging years, I formed significant and lasting friendships from which I began to grow a social network.
Along the line, I joined other niche social media networks, many of which have fallen out use, favour or are dead. Then came LinkedIn, which many did not consider social as in other forums we participated in, I guess, we compartmentalised, trying to keep our strictly professional lives separate from our lives outside work. I have been a member since the 16th of March 2006.
Can you hear the chirping birds?
One morning just before I left for work, I created a Twitter account and waited for a confirmation. Meanwhile, I travelled to Arnhem where I was working, and it was there that I posted my first tweet on the 8th of February 2009. Today is a decade since I joined Twitter. As I relayed in a blog, I wrote a couple of days ago, I had to change my mode of communication from long-form writing of a blog to the contextualised concision limited to 140-characters. It was a challenge I took on with relish.
I might have been more prolific on Twitter and somewhat become less so on my blog, I have tweeted just under 153,000 thousand times with a following just short of 6,000. I find it a very useful forum for sharing ideas and for getting a prompt and effective response for customer service issues.
A call from beyond
In December 2009, just a couple of days before my birthday, I joined Facebook. I probably resisted jumping on this bandwagon for years. My first invitation to join Facebook came almost two years before when I eventually joined the person who invited me had been dead just over 9 weeks. His Facebook page then became a memorial to lay wreaths and bouquets of thoughts and reminiscences at different times of the Facebook.
Facebook also upended the concept of social media, because the network not only exploited proximity, it allowed you to mine your past. By the time you put in names of your old schools and old friends, many long forgotten, you were caught in a time vortex from which you had little an inkling how to escape.
Mimes and rhymes
Until early last year, most of my Facebook activity came from my Twitter posts and that linked was broken. I would comment on things I find on Facebook, but it is more likely that new posts would come from Instagram or blogs that I have written. I joined Instagram on Christmas Eve of 2014.
Most of my Instagram posts are accompanied by bad poetry or musings about the things I have observed. I have not convinced myself that Pinterest or SnapChat would add any value to my social media landscape. My social media life is lively enough as it is.
This all because of my decade on Twitter and long may we have the opportunity to celebrate life, happiness, love, and the freedom of expression.

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